Transit system steers toward more business

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

A Portales city councilor raised questions this week about whether the Portales Area Transit system is being marketed well enough.

Councilor Jake Lopez said he knew of a resident who had recently walked to La Casa Health Center with a baby in arms for a doctor’s appointment. When he told them about PAT, the resident said they hadn’t heard about the service.

“I think the word’s getting out there,” said Jim Good, executive director of PAT, Good said. “We’re passing out flyers.”

Good said flyers had recently been posted on the bulletin board at the local clinic, however, he promised to look into whether or not it was still posted and work to keep them available.

Besides the name and phone number on the sides of the buses, the service also advertises itself at various events around town, according to Kathie Good, a member of the city’s transportation committee. She said the committee would welcome marketing ideas. She said the next regular monthly meeting is Jan. 29.

Lopez also questioned why there weren’t regular stops for the service.

“We used to have a route but it wasn’t getting used,” Councilor Ron Jackson replied.

“They were driving a route but they weren’t advertised,” Lopez said.

Good said the route PAT previously operated wasn’t working financially. He said that he was talking to Eastern New Mexico University about adding a route serving the campus — that would possibly run to Wal-Mart. He indicated that effort could be the key to reopening a route.

The city took over the service in March last year from Community Services Center, which had operated it since 1999.

Good said the service provides 80 to 100 rides a month, mostly to senior citizens. He said the door-to-door service PAT provides is popular with seniors.